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What Are Marsquake ?

Context:

Recently, NASA has reported that its InSight Mars lander detected the largest quake ever observed on another planet.

  • The rover first landed on Mars in November 2018, and has since heard 1,313 quakes. The largest previously recorded “marsquake” was detected in August 2021.

Relevance:

GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are marsquakes, and why do they happen?
  2. About InSight

What are marsquakes, and why do they happen?

  • On Earth, quakes are caused by shifts in tectonic plates.
  • Mars, however, does not have tectonic plates, and its crust is a giant plate.
  • Therefore,  ‘marsquakes’ are caused due to stresses that cause rock fractures or faults in its crust.

About InSight:

  • InSight is not looking for life on Mars, but is studying what Mars is made of, how its material is layered, and how much heat seeps out of it.
  • This is important because Earth and Mars used to be similar — warm, wet and shrouded in thick atmospheres — before they took different paths 3-4 billion years ago.
  • Mars stopped changing, while Earth continued to evolve.
  • With InSight, scientists hope to compare Earth and Mars, and better understand how a planet’s starting materials make it more or less likely to support life.
  • There are other missions to Mars that are looking for life on the planet, which makes Insight’s mandate unique.
  • Some missions studying the possibility of life on Mars include UAE’s Hope, China’s Tianwen-1, and NASA’s Perseverance.

-Source: Indian Express

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